Changes in the heritable attributes of populations of organisms over time. The mechanisms of evolution are mutation, migration, drift, and selection.

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If oxygen is such a good energy source, why do plants release it?

Why do plants release excess oxygen, rather than consuming it entirely given it is an excellent energy source?
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Why would a plant evolve to produce an addictive chemical?

It seems kind of anti-productive in terms of survival for a plant to produce an addictive chemical as that plant will constantly be sought after by animals that ingest it. In this instance, I'm ...
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Current scientific theories for evolution of Cucurbita

I'm attempting to find research on scientific theories surrounding the evolution of certain plants, and am unable to find any footing with respect to a certain genus. In this case, I am researching ...
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Does cancer cells come from same process as evolution? [duplicate]

Here is how I understand it: DNA replication is not 100% perfect and error can happen, this error can be good(evolution) or bad(cancer properties). But its not the only source of cancer cells - DNA ...
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36 views

the evolution of the human brain size [closed]

I was thinking, as I know, sometimes the process of producing DNA did not work well(correct me if I'm wrong), so it gives us some changes in the object we gonna ...
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119 views

Are humans evolving since their first appearance? [duplicate]

Is the evolution a very prolonged progress, or are we going to witness further evolution of the human species? If so, in which direction? Are there any widely predicted changes for humans?
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Genetic Diversity and Adaptation

I am somewhat new to evolutionary biology, having studied it on my free time as a computer science student. There is one particular thing that has always bothered me for which I have not seen a good ...
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Why do fetuses have membranes between fingers and toes?

Are the membranes present between the fetal fingers and toes a remainder of the phylogenetic evolution, or just a way organs do grow most easily?
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953 views

Viral Mutation Mechanism

I think I have a wrong concept about viral mutation process. First of all what is mutation actually? I mean, I know it's a sudden change in DNA, happening when subjected to mutagenic agents. But can ...
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Is it the case that all changes in phenotype during life are not inheritable?

This came up in a talk with a friend. I wanted to clear this doubt. I've read about it before and did again after her remark (my thoughts didn't change: her concept is Lamarck's, not Darwin's), but ...
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How do minute changes in an organism, as a result of evolution, get carried over to next generation

The theory of evolution states that random variations in organisms occur to better suit their surroundings. We take for example a bacteria's flagella. There's a bacteria who has a tube kind of ...
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What were the Neanderthal innovations?

At some point the neanderthal and modern human lineages diverged. I'm not sure what exactly their most common recent ancestor was (I see some sources suggesting homo heidelbergensis), but in any case ...
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How to define “evolution”?

The standard answer to the question: what is evolution? is: It is a change in allele frequency over time! I believe a complete definition should encompass the following concepts: ...
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What traits make mountain goats so well adapted to mountain living?

I've never really understood how mountain goats manage to survive so well in mountainous regions. I've seen them scale almost sheer cliff faces with apparent ease, and they can almost sprint ...
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Can we say the 'goal' of Mullerian mimicry is a 'decrease in the number of sacrificed indivials'?

Can we say that Mullerian mimicry allows two species to decrease their number of sacrifice individuals because: Originally, one species needs to sacrifice some individuals to allow predators to ...
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39 views

Is there any evidence that any other species are “pre-intelligence”? [closed]

Is there any evidence regarding whether other species might, given time, evolve intelligence as humans have? I realize "intelligence" is a vague word here, but I'm interested in throwing a wide net, ...
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Does the species of snake that eats Amphidromous inversus have chiral dimorphism?

From what I read at Schilthuizen and Davison (2005), Amphidromous inversus is a species of snail that occurs in 2 forms that are nearly mirror images of each other occurring in nearly equal ...
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Why are there no organisms with metal body parts, like weapons, bones, and armour? (Or are there?)

Reading this question, Why are there no wheeled animals?, I wondered why no organisms seem to make use of the tensile and other strengths of metal, as we do in metal tools and constructions. I am ...
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39 views

Origin of aerobic respiration [closed]

Since life originated in water, did the first eukaryotic organisms utilize the dissolved oxygen in the water or they respired anaerobically?
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Describing trait evolution across a very small phylogenetic tree [closed]

I am very new to phylogenetic comparative methods but I want to explore the evolutionary patterns of a number of quantitative traits I have across a small sample (5) of closely related species (...
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Why do living fossils like crocodiles remain so constant and not evolve? [duplicate]

Crocodiles have supposedly remained unchanged for millions of years, and several other species are considered as "living fossils". How do such species remain so constant over time given that they will ...
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How much of the genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees are due to genetic drift?

Both natural selection and genetic drift play a part in changing our DNA over time. Are there trustworthy estimates how much of the differences over the whole genome between us and chimpanzees are due ...
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How to name a case of convergent evolution where the same mutation is involved in both lineages?

Definition of Convergent evolution - from Wikipedia > Convergent Evolution Convergent evolution is the independent evolution of similar features in species of different lineages. Convergent ...
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How do I measure genetic distance?

I'm not sure how to measure genetic distance. There seems to be many different equations out there, and all the ones I found are rather old. In my specific problem I want to see if the twist in ...
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Development and function of spindle neurons

In his book How to Create a Mind author Ray Kurzweil makes some claims about spindle neurons that he provides no source for. Concretely he states that spindle cells: Are Involved in handling ...
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Is natural selection still at work in humans in the 21st century? [duplicate]

There has been some disussion on this site about some aspects (e.g. evolution of eye sight, or height, or the effect of medicine, or evolution the past $\sim10000$ years). My question is really more ...
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What is the difference between Founder effect and Bottleneck effect?

Both are examples of genetic drift in which there is a change in the allele frequency when the population size becomes small. What is the difference between the two?
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If evolution is not about increased complexity, why does so much complexity evolve?

In my last question I asked why we don't see increased complexity in artificial life simulations of evolution. It seems I had fallen for a common misconception, that evolution was about improvement by ...
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Why Is Most Life Symmetrical Externally But Not Internally?

Mammals, reptiles, arachnids, insects, etc are all as far as I am aware symmetrical in appearance. Take a human for instance, make a line from the top of our head right down the middle. However, ...
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Why are not all species hermaphrodites?

If a hermaphrodite animal (like slug, snail, etc) finds a partner they can mate immediately. If another animal with "normal" reproduction (lets say a mouse) finds a partner they can only mate if they ...
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Did Darwin ever reach the conclusion that selection will remove variation?

According to simple models of selection the genetic variance in a population should be reduced by selection. (Fisher's fundamental theorem states that the rate at which a population can evolve is ...
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Diffusion approximation to genetic drift

I am reading from the classical textbook Principles of Population Genetics, Hartl and Clark (pdf here). Introduction Let $f(p,x,t)$ denote the distribution of allele frequency $x$ at time $t$ ...
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Why were the earliest humans hunter gatherers instead of fruit eaters living on trees?

How is it that the earliest humans who evolved from primates (who live on trees and mostly eat fruit) became hunter-gatherers (which seems like a harder, more stressful and more dangerous way to find ...
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345 views

Why do women live longer than men?

According to Wikipedia and many other sources, women live substancially longer than men (over 5 years in the U.S.). Men can reproduce for much longer than women. So longer living men would have the ...
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Why are the fertility rates of large predators kept low?

Predators at the top of a food chain, like lions, seem to have a relatively low fertility rate, which fits well to the ecosystem and avoids overpredation. But what is the mechanism that keeps the ...
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Why is dimethyltryptamine (DMT) being released during death?

I'm not very well informed about all the things related to biology and the current achievements of science in this field so if I'm wrong in anything I say, please let me know. Many times I've come ...
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Fecundity per woman in early humans

The average fecundity per woman varies a lot from country to country. I call average fecundity per woman the average number of born children per woman. In Homo sapiens, what was the average fecundity ...
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Why are there so many medicinal plants?

Question Quite a few plant species can be used for medicinal purposes wiki. As an example, Filipendula ulmaria is rich in acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin). An allele that produces a substance which is ...
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What are the evolutionary benefits for herbs having beneficial health effects on humans? [duplicate]

There are many types of plants which produce chemicals which can be beneficial in treating human illnesses, or at least alleviate painful symptoms. Why would they do that? Is it just random chance, ...
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Evolutionarily, why do male rats and horses lack nipples?

Developmentally male rats don't have nipples because (reddit) Testosterone release in the fetal male rat happens before the stage of mammogenesis where the teat is formed whereas other species ...
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Cell evolution: immortality vs reproduction

Many sci fi movies produce interesting ideas and technologies that we seem to be able to realize in real life at some point. "Lucy" was not one of those movies. But Morgan Freeman's speech in the ...
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Do babies resemble their father?

An often heard theory is that newborns and babies resemble the father more than the mother, a theory apparently ignited by a Nature paper by Christenfeld and Hill (1995). Figure 1 shows one of the ...
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How does discontinuous distribution provide evidence for evolution?

One of the evidences for evolution is bio-geographical evidence. In it,'discontinuous distribution' is mostly cited as an evidence. For example, Alligators are found only in south-eastern US & ...
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Are there examples of selection on males influencing female phenotypes?

I've been studying selection on female body color in a sexually dimorphic species and am intrigued by the possibility that selection on males, whether it be through sexual or natural selection, may ...
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What does 'direction' mean in the statement “mutations are non-directional”?

I was reading the Mutation theory of De Vries; there I encountered this following statement: Mutations are discontinuous, random & non-directional.This is in contrast to Darwinism where ...
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620 views

Why are eggs “egg” shaped?

Is there a reason as to why chickens lay "egg" shaped eggs, as opposed to spherically shaped eggs (or a random shape)? <--- Main Question For extra points (actually just to add more words in ...
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What is the evolutionary explanation for bat's echolocation [closed]

The bat's ability for echolocation is amazing (so are other the abilities of other animals). I was wondering how all of it came to be.
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Why are there different species of bacteria?

The usual (high school or intro to bio) explanation for diversification of species comes from multicellular, usually sexually reproducing organisms, and seems to be closely tied to the biological ...
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How did dolpins acquire the dorsal fin?

I had been thinking bout atavism when I saw a picture of a dolphin. I had seen it before, but suddenly the dorsal fin startled me. How did this dorsal fin evolve, especially, is it some atavism from ...
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What's the mechanism or structure responsible for new species genetic code generation? [closed]

I always had this question in mind. I think, If humans find answer to it then we can trigger the next evolution of human specie. What is the mechanism or structure responsible for evolution ? I don't ...